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Can a Killer Be a True Muslim?

13/04/2016 12:10

Leaflets calling for the killing of Ahmadi Muslims have been found in a mosque in south London. The literature in question stated that Ahamdi Muslims should face death or 'capital punishment' if they refuse to convert to mainstream Islam.

These findings follow in the wake of Assad Shah's murder in Glasgow. He was an Ahmadi Muslim. Tanveer Ahmed declared he killed Assad Shah in order to 'protect the honour of Islam.' In his statement he claimed: "If I had not done this others would and there would have been more killing and violence in the world."

His obscure statement begs the question, How is that a valid justification for killing an innocent man. Protecting the honour of Islam? what an absolute insult, not just of the religion but all those who choose to follow it. In the Qur'an it states that "Whosoever kills an innocent person it shall be as if he had killed all mankind." (Ch5 V 33) and that indeed "There is no compulsion in religion." (Ch 2 V 256).

The UK has become a great sanctuary for many communities and through that it has become the multi cultural, multi faceted cosmopolitan that we have all grown to love. But the bedrock of this great nation is tolerance, without it we would struggle to coexist peacefully.

In his final tweet Assad Shah sent a message wishing his 'beloved Christian nation' a Happy Easter. His sentiments embodied the values of Islam that promotes peace and understanding between all faiths. Muslims are taught not to pass any sort of judgement nor are they entitled to state who is a true or false believer: "Surely all believers are brothers. So make peace between brothers." (Ch 49 V 11)

When the Prophet Muhammad first established Islam in Medinah he drafted a charter entitled the Constitution of Medinah. It has been documented in history as the first ever democratic constitution which formed the basis of a multi-religious Islamic state in Medina. The Constitution accommodated to people of all backgrounds and faiths; Article 30 Guaranteed freedom of religion for both Muslim and non-Muslim minorities, Article 49 Prohibited fighting and bloodshed among the various communities of the state and Article 62 guaranteed all peaceful citizens safe and secure protection.

It was also recently revealed that untranslated writings by the Prophet Mohammed indicated Christians living within the "ummah" - Arabic for community - were protected and defended. Dr Craig Considine (author of the study) was quoted in The Independent stating that these findings could act "as a kind of medicine to cure the diseases of Islamic extremism and Islamophobia".

So taking this all in to account, one must question which so called Islamic values was this man trying to protect? by taking an innocent life he violated the very values of his religion. It is unfortunate that the media chooses to highlight the actions of such people because it leads to the belief that these individuals are the true representation of the moderate majority. People that promote violence in the name of any faith should not be given the title of a believer because no faith be it Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Budhism promotes such unmitigated violence and bloodshed.

Glasgow's Ahmadi Community have called on all Muslim leaders in the UK to publicly condemn Tanveer Ahmad's statement. In a report by the Guardian, community leader Ahmed Owusu-Konadu said that: "It justifies the killing of anyone - Muslim or non-Muslim - whom an extremist considers to have shown disrespect to Islam."

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has faced persecution in certain Muslim countries since its inception in 1889, but tensions grew stronger when in 1974, Under Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a constitutional amendment was introduced in Pakistan declaring Ahmadis as non Muslim.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in India. He is regarded by his followers as the Messiah whose advent brought about the revival of Islam. Ahmadis state the Prophet Muhammad was the last law bearing prophet and that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the reformer whose advent was documented in eschatological prophecies of the 14th Islamic century.

Because of these beliefs the community became a target of heavy persecution. It became a criminal act for Ahmadis' to profess their faith in Pakistan which meant the community had to move its headquarters to the UK. Today they are recognized in Britain for their humanitarian work and their motto of love for all Hatred for none which is currently being carried on red buses across the UK as part of their united against extremism campaign.

People like Assad are an example of what makes Britain great. He represented the sentiment of many people here in the UK who choose to practice their beliefs peacefully whilst embracing the values of others, that's a true mark of faith and tolerance. To keep Britain great we must stamp out intolerance in all its forms, and the government should take stronger action against any individuals that risk to ruin this tolerant haven. Free speech is one thing, but hate speech is unacceptable, because it is such hate speech that is giving justification to such abhorrent violence.

The silence of the moderate majority is in itself promoting such intolerance, and this is something that cannot be ignored. This is now a wake up call for all Muslims to take a stand against extremism. How can Muslims combat the extremist ideologies of religious fundamentalists like ISIS if they cannot successfully unite together to promote peaceful coexistence, a very basic tenant of Islam. They now must unite to create better social cohesion and reclaim the true identity of Islam, which stands for peace, submission and universal brotherhood.

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